Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on October 11, 2023.
(To hear that after five weeks, you have more passing yards than anyone, well, you're projected at this rate to have the most passing yards of any quarterback in history, obviously one game longer than past seasons, your reaction to that would be what?) – "Oh, it'd be nothing."
(Cool? Or no?) – "Sure, that would definitely be cool. If we don't get to where we want to as a team, none of that would mean anything to me. But along the way, if we could get to where we want to get to as a team, and those statistics could follow in helping win games, I'd be very happy."
(On wearing Ohio State gear at his press conference) – "The bet was lost to Jerome Baker and Eli Apple. Boooo."
(But Alabama didn't play this week?) – "Bama didn't play, my brother played. He plays for Maryland."
(I hope they gave you points.) – "No, they didn't give me points. I think they thought highly of Maryland's team."
(So what was their punishment going to be?) – "They were going to wear Maryland gear."
(It feels like they should do more than that.) – "(laughter) I mean yeah, I'm probably with you there."
(You have more to lose, you have to stand up here. They're just in the locker room.) – "Yeah, but sometimes that's how you win your team over guys. Sometimes you got to do what you got to do, you know? (laughter)"
(Your thoughts on the unfortunate loss of RB De'Von Achane at least for a few weeks, and then the possibility of RB Jeff Wilson Jr. coming back?) – "Yeah, it's tough seeing any of our guys go down. He's done a tremendous job for us, De'Von (Achane), but I know he's going to do all that he can to get better. And we're extremely happy to have Jeff (Wilson Jr.) back as well. I know Jeff's really excited to be out there. He's excited to get things going. He looked really good out there at practice today, so we're all excited."
(When you look at this Panthers defense, what are a couple things you see on tape that they do well?) – "Yeah, I think there's a lot of things that they do well within their personnels of how they use certain guys. I think they do really well playing together. Teams like this that are 0-5 are not necessarily a reflection of the offense, the defense, their special teams. Merely just being in the NFL, you get into some games that are very close, and then some can just get away just like that. I think they're continuing to find who they are as a team. They play really, really hard, and that's what we know we're going to get, so we have to be prepared for them."
(How are you feeling physically right now compared to years past? We've seen the quarterback hit numbers are way down, the sack numbers are way down. How are you feeling physically?) – "Yeah, I feel really good. I mean, the best that any quarterback could feel, or any football player could feel, at this point of the season."
(And it's a testament to the offensive line, but also maybe some things you've done as well in the offseason?) – "Yeah, that's a testament to everyone. Every one of those guys on the offense. The offensive line allowing time, receivers knowing where they have to be in the timing of the play. And then really just having to distribute the ball, getting the ball out on time for those guys."
(Is this a week that, although you still had a prolific performance, those two interceptions still give you plenty to harp on and correct?) – "Oh, any interception, any turnover, anything like that allows more than a correction for preparing for a team. That's not something that as a leader of our offense should be happening, and that's not something that I should be doing. I've been very aware of that, so doing my best, working as best as I can to hopefully eliminate those within these next upcoming games."
(Apparently, Panthers QB Bryce Young said that you were a really, really big reason why he decided to commit to Alabama. I was curious if you were aware of the impact that you have on his college decision?) – "No, I wasn't. I wouldn't say I was as aware, but that means a lot. The things that he did over there at Alabama, I mean, I couldn't even do. So for him to have won the Heisman, for him to have done the things that he's done, breaking records over there at Alabama, it's a testament of the family that he comes from. It's a testament of his hard work. As he's maneuvering his way throughout the league, and he's finding out the type of person that he is, the type of player that he is, I know that he'll continue to grow and continue to find ways to do good and things like that. So I got all the respect for Bryce (Young), and I wish him the best."
(I know you're the last guy to want to talk about yourself, but considering what you did over there, what you won, and you were the first in this string of first-round quarterbacks coming from Bama, do you feel like you might have had some sort of impact on the impression that Alabama can produce pro-style quarterbacks?) – "I think it was really the guys that I had surrounding me, my surrounding cast. As I think about it, before I would say I got there, Alabama was not necessarily known for throwing the ball down the field, more so ground and pound. It's the defense that makes it Alabama. As Coach (Nick) Saban had continued to recruit other guys as we were there, I would say those guys have seen what we were able to do. It's one of those things that, 'Yeah, Alabama is not just a ground and pound team. They do throw the ball, and they throw it a lot.' I would say with the supporting cast that I had, we definitely had some say in, I think, recruiting."
(What have been the extent of your conversations with WR Chase Claypool and what do you think of the addition to the offense?) – "Yeah, he's a great guy. I get to talk to him here and there. It's not an everyday interaction, but it's just a. 'What's up? How you doing?' Then he'll ask what he has on some things and whatnot, if he's in on some plays for guys that's subbing in for. But for the most part, he's continuing to find ways to get to know the guys in his room, get to know the guys in the locker room, get to know his teammates. It's just one of those things with him is just taking it one day at a time."
(I'd like to ask you a little bit, I know it got a lot of attention postgame, but the touchdown to WR Tyreek Hill, how much of that was off script? Was it just you and WR Tyreek Hill getting together and adjusting his route? Or was it the whole play, kind of made up on the fly?) – "I don't know what you're talking about. (laughter) Yeah, we never got together and talked about it. It was just one of those things where as I was listening to the play call, one of the play calls was just one that was tough for me to envision us running. So I called one that I was very much comfortable with, and I thank the good Lord above that it worked and it worked the way it did. I think it would've been bad if it didn't."
(What's it say, I wonder, about your comfort level and your ability to take command of the huddle in a moment like that? I'm thinking that maybe Tua, the rookie, wouldn't have done such a thing. If you could describe your development along the way and what it means for you?) – "There's been a lot of development. There's no way that I would have done that my rookie year. I would have never been able to have done that the following year. I would say just because from my rookie year to the next year, like I was still continuing to learn offense, and I was still continuing to learn defenses, especially with the new offensive coordinators that we've had. With Mike (McDaniel), Mike just makes you feel very comfortable in being yourself, and really, he's A-OK with many, many things that I do and he's comfortable with things that I do. It's really just talking to him about it, like, 'Hey, I think I would want to do this. Are you OK?' 'I'm OK, thanks for telling me. Just continue to communicate to me, and then I'll let you know when it's just leave this because I know something, that's why I'm calling it.' Things like that. But for the most part, it's really a testament to Mike and the guys that he's brought in to help me, help our offense to continue to thrive and flourish."
(One thing you mentioned Sunday was about shaking off interceptions, you feel like you're better with that. How much of that is because Head Coach Mike McDaniel and Quarterbacks/Passing Game Coordinator Darrell Bevell are supportive after interceptions with you, upbeat? Is that a part of it?) – "Yeah, it definitely is a part of it. That's been something that I've also been working on for myself, and it's not just me that goes into one of those deals of, 'Man, you knew you shouldn't have done that.' Well it's one of those things where you can't have that back, and the more you continue to ponder on it, you can't go out there with a clear mind to do your own job to help the team. So that's been something I've been working on. Plays like that, they're going to happen, but it's how you come back from them, and I think we've done a really good job coming back from those. Whether it was a fumble, an interception, as a group we rallied and we came back and put points on the board."
(I know you mentioned the play call earlier and it made me think a little bit more wider, but the use of wristbands, some quarterbacks like it, some don't. I'm curious your view of maybe the wristband usage versus just taking the play call in from the helmet?) – "I think with the wristbands, just like everything else, there's pros and cons. The pros are you know you won't miss a word that you say and that you're telling to the guys, whereas if you're hearing it in your helmet. The cons of it are when you're reading, like sometimes it's just words like that you're saying. You're not able to picture it sometimes as you're reading it, like where do the guys belong? It's just words that you're saying, so then when everyone breaks out, you're like, 'Wait, what did I say again?' It's really things like that. So if you're not on the game plan, that's where you can get got, like, 'Wait, where does everyone go? Who am I motioning? Like where do I open up? Wait, was it a can for this run?' Things like that. So there's a lot of things that go into that, but I mean, we do both in the game. Mike (McDaniel) tells me a play call when we're on the fly or if we need to just get going, and then sometimes he'll just tell me the number of the play."